Best announcement of Photokina 2016? For me it was the…


Best announcement of Photokina 2016? For me it was the…

Well, Photokina is here and while I was supposed to be there from this past Sunday through tomorrow, I ended up staying back due to a truly “once in a lifetime” opportunity that came knocking on my door, one I could not refuse. For eight years I covered only the best of Photokina on these pages, all without ever going to Germany for the event. Sure, it would have been awesome to be there, but I was not in the cards this time around. But even though I was not there, I still had all of the emails with releases and info sent to my inbox like mad. From things like bags, to straps, to gimbals and smaller items to the big guns like Sony, Olympus, Leica, etc.

Truth be told? This year I have not seen many releases that really got my blood pumping or excitement flowing through my veins. There was a little bit of that though with Olympus, Fuji and Sony or course but the “big one” never surfaced (New Leica M). Before I get to the one thing that DID excite me, let’s go over some other releases at this years huge Photo event and my first response thoughts on them…



I hate to say it but have to say it…Leica dropped the ball this year. All we got was a new SL lens roadmap, and a new instant camera as well as an M 240 Rehash with a special titanium edition and crazy price tag. I LOVE LEICA but even so, no new M on the 10 year anniversary of the digital M (M8)? Could have/WOULD HAVE been the sleeper hit of Photokina! I had high hopes for Leica this year, and those hopes were squashed… though the new 50 Summilux for the SL looks amazing, and I will review it as soon as I can get one. So no new M yet. 🙁



Sony came out swinging with the crazy insane versatile A99 MKII. Many are saying this A99 MKII is what the Canon 5D MKIV wanted to be and what it should have been. That is quite the statement.

This warm welcome for the A99 MKII is huge and great news for Sony who have been doing amazing things with digital imaging. Without Sony in this race for the last several years, digital imaging would be a tad boring in 2016. But me, I was hoping for the long rumored A9 Pro. That was a no show. Even so, Sony today is much more exciting than Nikon and Canon (to me). I still use my A7RII almost daily. It’s been a workhorse and used for over 100k pics and countless hours of video. Never an issue. 



Fuji gave us the new Medium format monster in the GX50s. Looks like a standard Fuji, monster sized with an all new sensor and lens lineup for this medium format camera. An external optional EVF (no built in EVF here) and rumored to come in at under $10k with a lens, the EVF and the body. To me, it looks good and I am excited to see it in action and use it some, but at the $9k price point the new Hasselblad that was announced months ago, (to me), looks more enticing. 




Canon gave us the M5, the 5th version of the slow selling M series. They have come a long long way since the original M1 and the new M5 looks good, BUT AT THE SAME TIME, seems like more of the same old same old. They are playing catch up with the likes of Sony, Fuji and Olympus right now. At this rate, they may have something to surpass those other brands by 2020 😉 



Olympus, to me, stole the show. With the live video YouTube announcement, the two new PRO lenses including the amazing looking 25 f/1.2 (see report on it here) to the new E-M1 MKII, Olympus has juiced me up with excitement. I can not wait to test this new camera and the new lenses. I suspect I will love it. I still love the MKI so man…I can only imagine. 

So to me, Olympus stole the show at Photokina this year. They also announced the new PEN camera which I did not even cover yet. THE E-PL8, which looks pretty snazzy. So Olympus is still rocking and rocking quite hard!


While I am not sure what happened with Leica’s M, or Sony’s long rumored A9 I do like what I see above from Sony, Fuji and Olympus. The three companies I always say are “pushing the envelope” more than anyone else in the camera manufacturer world. They just proved that point here yet again. Nikon showed off some Action Cam GoPro clones, but other than that? Not much from the big N.

What I feel is still to come, to be announced later? Keep in mind, I have no inside info (if I did I could not even speculate) so this is all from my GUT. A prediction if you will. 

  1. A new Leica M is being worked on and developed and has been for 2+ years. I predict it will be slimmer, have some sort of hybrid RF/EVF and have a new 30MP-ish sensor with more of the rendering style of the Q and SL. It will have dual SD slots, long battery life, built in GPS, WiFi and will be quick and  responsive. It will have a new modernized look while retaining the classic and desirable look of the M.
  2. I feel a Sony A9 “pro” will arrive soon as well. Something like a PRO LEVEL A7 with dual slots, a more square body, hefty, a glorious EVF (Leica SL like) and great speed and battery life with an all new sensor. Also, MAYBE a Medium Format body of their own to compete with the Fuji and Hasselblad. They do make amazing MF sensors 😉

I expected these two things above at Photokina. Maybe they will never show up, or maybe they will, just at a later date. Sometimes when cameras are not ready to show, they do not show them. It has happened before so all we can do is wait and see.



  1. I was intrigued by the 3 Panasonic Leica lens under glass there. The 3 2.8-4 lens reminded me on Oly’s 2.8-3.5 lens of (what seems to me) long ago. The 5 axis IS of the G85 sounds good for Panasonic lovers. Of course being left eyed, I prefer its DLSR shape. However I think it may be priced a little high when compared with Oly’s offerings. Still I would like to see it.

  2. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for your report. Don’t know if you have seen the notice about a September 30, 2016 Leica announcement in Singapore of new cameras. Maybe your crystal ball will be proved right and we will get the TL and new slimmed down M then.


  3. Nice Photokina recap, Steve. Over the years, I too have noticed that, as other posters have mentioned, your reviews and comments tend to favor Leica, Olympus and Sony. That said, I think that is human nature, to show a preference (conscious or subconscious) for one thing (in this case, “brand”) over another, and that’s fine. For example, I rarely see Pentax mentioned. Perhaps it’s my own flawed preferences, but I find it harder to accept as “fact”, blanket statements like “Olympus lenses are built better, sharper, lighter than Fuji lenses”, or, “Fuji MF will fail if it comes in at a $10K price point”. Sure, there are “gems” in most every product line, but I can recall at least one article on Image Review that compared the excellent Olympus 75 to the Fujinon 90 f/2, and gave the sharpness edge to the Fuji. Indeed, another site gave the same Fujinon 90 the “King of Sharpness” award, over their previous “King”, a Sigma 75, I believe. I must say that when I did research when jumping from DSLRs into the mirrorless world, I strongly considered the Oly EM-1 system, primarily because of its size and IBIS. However, the more research I did, the more I came to understand that for my particular needs (landscape/product photography and poster printing), a system with a somewhat larger sensor would serve me better, hence my choice of the Fujifilm X-System. More than one site has mentioned that in M4/3, in general, there is “some” noise present at “any” ISO. If printing large wasn’t one of my criteria, I may very well have gone with Olympus, because of their fine optics, ergonomics, and world-class IBIS. However, for my particular needs (and budget), the Fuji X-System fits the bill..excuse the pun! Keep up the good work, Steve

  4. There is nothing about a Voigtlander Bessa digital rangefinder camera? There was a rumor circulating since 2009 for a new telemetry or Zeiss or voigtlander and then nothing

  5. I think the photography industry is at a turning point, it is time to abandon the transposition of the film camera in digital camera.

             : Abandonment of parallel planes sensors, the sensor will be part of optics and will be curve.
             : Abandonment of the mechanical shutter.
             : Abandonment of the mirror

    The body includes all the usual settings and image processing.

  6. I hope your Oly reviews compare new f4 pro zooms to 12 40.f2.8 in area of overlapping focal.lengths. e.g. at portrait focal lengths which provides zoom is better, at 12mm landscape which is better. Using mk II for comparisons. Then f 1.2 vs Pan/Leica f1.4 bokeh which is better.
    I’m thinking of trading up em1 body and those 2 lens. Like many I won’t often need 100mm x 2 cause I don’t shoot animals or sports. I bought me gear trading up from Canon 5D because if your site and have been thrilled with results. I shoot food (kindle Veggie Power Burgers by Cathy Gallagher) and 15 years for a meditation quarterly brochure. At 78 Oly mobility have been top.priority with hi IQ a given.
    Thanks Steve

    • As I said, a new Leica M IS coming. That is 100%. They have been working on it for quite some time. As for when? No one knows. But I predict…SOON.

      • When is that SOON… is the real question to be answered. For almost 6 months, I have been holding up myself from getting a Leica M 240. I just came back from a local dealer that would offer me a demo model M 240 for under 5k with less than 150 actuations. I’m so tempted to get it, but I’ve decided to wait until next Friday.

        That apart, would you recommend a Silver or a Black?

    • You do not ever have to agree with me, as this is my opinion. 😉 But Oly will sell MANY more E-M1II bodies than Fuji, especially with the price rumors floating around on the Fuji. The Fuji is a Fuji with a larger sensor, larger body, larger everything. Pretty cool, but what will the final price be? MUCH MUCH more than a Sony RII, a Canon 5DIV, and a Oly Em1II. The Olympus offers so much more than the Fuji and is much much more versatile in every way. IQ is gorgeous from Olympus and their lenses are up there with Leica M in quality. From the best in class IS to the night shooting features to the speed to the 60FPS shooting RAW files to the steady cam like video to the beautiful EVF to the small size and huge lens selection to the gorgeous color and tonality it offers. The Fuji will be larger, slower, not nearly as responsive but you will gain one thing over the Olympus with Fuji, more DR, richer files..but you will lose speed, versatility, response, the video and size ad weight. To most, the Olympus is the more attractive solution. For me, I am much more attracted to the Hasselblad MF Mirrorless over the Fuji for its design, build, style and its performance is quite amazing while keeping the body slim and not looking like a DSLR. If the Fuji prices are what they are rumored to be, I’d take the Hasselblad over the Fuji any day. Then again, I feel Sony may be coming out with their own Mirrorless MF body that would knock the socks off of Fuji and Hasselblad. Just a gut feeling I have had for a while. No solid info of course. But anyway, we all have our own opinions. Some want a huge sensor and could care less about usability and speed and weight or size. Some want small size with pro results and features, some want point and shoots and some are perfectly happy with their smart phones 😉

      • The hasselblad is $9000 without lens, fuji is well under 10.000 with lens! So you can think of a price between 5000 and 7000 for the body and 2000 for the lens; At this price you buy a top Full Frame camera with lens; about the quality of the lenses, Fuji produces the best in terms of ratio quality/ price, much better than Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Zeiss and whatever you can consider

      • Obviously they will sell more! It’s way cheaper! What a terrible argument!

        M43 is stretched to the limit sensor wise and that new 25mm is $1200!! Lol then you compare the speed of both systems (clearly the MF will lose out) but have a love in over Leica and slowing down the shooting process (and justify the cost) …it’s clear you are a Fuji hater! But that’s ok…I still think you’re cool and love our craft of photography and for what it’s worth I have tinted glasses for certain gear too…happy shooting

        • The 8mm Pro was also $1200. I own it, as do many others I know. The 7-14 is a $1300 lens. I own it, one of my best lenses in my collection, its well worth the cost. The 25 also appears to be well worth the cost. In these days for $5-12,000 50mm lenses from Leica, a $1200 lens in the same equivalent FL that renders similarly is a no brainer. You must not have done much work with Olympus pro lenses. They are some of the best made in the world today. I see those Fuji tinted glasses of yours, but mine are crystal clear. I love all great gear that works well, is easy to use, has accurate and speedy AF, has versatility and allows me to do whatever I need. A Fuji MF body will not do what the E-M1 or E-MII does. The one benefit is the sensor size for richer files in all ways. But in every other way from size, cost, performance (speed, response, usability, ect) go to the Olympus. I suggest shooting with some Oly pro glass. In build, size and performance/speed it beat every Fuji lens I ever tried. Thats not tint, it is reality. Both cameras are appealing to their own audience but the Fuji audience will be much much smaller.

          • I had the 40–150 oly pro glass for my em5ii and it was great below Iso 800. I had to be in ideal light for it and any other m43 lens to shine…i do miss certain things from the oly’s but the files are on the thin side unless as I said in great light…
            As far as comparing oly glass to Fuji, I’m afraid you are dead wrong!!! Build: Fuji wins by a land slide if you comparing by price…the 25mm 1.8 to Fuji 35mm f2 which is comparable in price…Fuji is weather resistant, quicker, sharper and can creat shallower depth of field and I can bet it is smaller than the pro version too…yes the new 25 imay render better but it is 3X more expensive…in fact only two lenses from the whole of Fuji line is more expensive than that new 25mm…I could have both of fujis weather resistant 23mm f2 and 35mm f2 and walk away with $500 or this 25mm 1.2….in fact I reckon that 25mm is bigger than both of those two lenses put together….and here was me thinking m43 selling point was for size…so I’m afraid oly doesn’t beat Fuji in build, size and even performance…

      • Steve, did you get an opportunity can you try the new OMD mark 2, or at least put it in your hands? I have a great concern for where they placed the right-hand side eyelet. It looks as though if you place any strap hand or otherwise that it will interfere with the controls that are near it. I am really interested in your review of the camera.


        • Nope, I will be shooting with it soon. Same time as all other reviewers. Will be very thorough in my review and videos of this camera and the new lenses. Thanks.

      • Steve why do you keep reepeating your nonsense re: Fuji GFX price.
        You know full well, and it is on every camera site : GFX + lens + evf = well under $10k I.e body only GFX approx $5k.

        And expecting Medium format to be fast, responsive, video, speed: DUH !

        • My nonsense? Hmmm. You know full well it is said by Fuji to be well under $10k today. The 1st rumors were $10k. No price has been officially set, so no way of knowing what teh true price will be. All we have are the “rumored’ prices. All I have said early on is that if it is $10k, it will be a huge huge fail. It would. Without question. If the body is $4500-$5k, then it will be just fine. Buts how me a link that shows the price and I’d be happy to report it. Price is as of today, UNAVAILABLE. So no one knows what the true price will be, not even you 😉

      • And NO Sony will NOT bring a medium format simply because Japanese camera companies don’t step on each others toes.

        • That’s some flawed thinking. Fuji and Sony have similar cameras already – APS-C mirrorless. Who stepped on whose toes there? I will still say Sony will come out with a mirrorless MF body of their own. Maybe not this year, but I bet next year they will. Hasselblad, Fuji, then Sony 😉

      • I’m seriously thinking of going Olympus AND Hasselblad, just like I still do with my film cameras.

        They are different systems for different applications, and not much overlap. The available lenses are very disparate, and Fuji won’t have much range yet either.

        I will continue to use my Panasonic Lumix LX100, another horse for another course.

        It is possible that I will skip Full Frame digital entirely.

  7. I agree Steve and feel that the a99II technology is a foreshadowing of the coming Sony a9 Pro. 42 MP, dual card slots, full weather proofing, complete metal body, instant start up times, instant buffer clearing, unlimited jpeg shooting–very similar specs to a99II but a step further. And possibly announced with a brand new FE G 300mm f2.8 to show that the E-Mount is ready to take on the world of sports. The only thing missing from the a99II that pro sports photographers and news photographers need on a daily basis is an audio tag (like on the 1DX and D5 line). But I doubt that would ever happen.

  8. I could not have agreed more with Steve on Leica dropping the ball on the new M. As a frequent Fuji user, I am excited about the new medium format announcement. If the new lenses deliver the promise of carrying enough resolution on the glass to handle 100MP, $9K is not going to break the bank for the pro advertisment photographer, fashion photographer who had been looking for a better, light weight option than Phase One digital medium format. Time will show!

  9. Why is Steve persisting in saying that the EVF os the Fuji MF Camera os optional? Fuji and EVERY other commentator have said that it is a standard item. Does Steve know something that the rest ofv the world does not?

  10. I’ve been drooling over the A7RII’s tech and IQ but I could never warm up to its odd styling and smallish grip. Shooting with the A7II for long periods left my hand with painful cramps. For me, the A7 series ergonomics and haptics leave little to be desired but there is no denying the image quality. I’ve been reluctant to switch back to DSLR for lack of EVF and IBIS (and huge size) but I really need a camera with a beefier grip to accommodate my large hands. The A99 II couldn’t have come at a better time. It will give me everything the A7RII has but with a more DSLR-like experience, albeit in a more compact offering similar to the A77II, which I think is the perfect size for a camera unless you have small hands. The one feature of the A7RII that gets mentioned occasionally is its ability to adapt 3rd party lenses. This however doesn’t interest me in the least as there always seems to be a compromise when adapting 3rd party lenses. The A99 II ticks all of my boxes; more traditional styling and handing like a DSLR but with an EVF and 5 axis IS – Dual card slots, 4k, a 3axis tiltable LCD, 42MP, and 12 FPS -it’s everything I wanted the A7RII to be and then some. I was in disbelief when it was announced. I’m extremely eager to pair it with the now legendary Zeiss Sonnar T 135 f1.8ZA. I just hope it’s as good in real-life as it is on paper 😉

  11. Hello, maybe it is a stupid question, but why can not to use in small body (for example) Ricoh GR APSC – a FullFrame sensor, if the film version Ricoh GR21v (for example) is FF + with small lens ?
    Thanks for answer

  12. Oly E-M1 II and the new 25 PRO, is more for me, returned my Leica Q and was able to purchase a Rotel RA-1592 hehehe. Got money left for the camera and lens, Now that’s a win!!

  13. This year at photokina the realy new things are more in the direction of acceseries. In my mind the hartblei double shift adapter for the e-mount, SL- mount, fuji x mount system is one of the realy new things. It give you the compactes way to do achitectur fotos with canon or nikon lenses (up to 15mm shift) yousing a A7RII. It was demonstrated with a modifide 16-35 mm Canonzoom.

    Arca Swiss show a new compakt gear ballhead based on a P1 monoball. Realy high end and fine useable on a Systemcamera.

    And i try the first time the techart pro adapter for af with my leica M lenses on the A7 Series. Since yesterday i use AF with my noctilux.
    greatings from germany

  14. I was hoping for Lumix LX200 and Leica X line refreshments….nothing yet. Well, I may finally get Leica X113 for the unusually great colours, simple menu and files quality. My friend bought yesterday aging but still very nice Leica XVario as a poor result of the Photokina 2016. I would love to read Steve’s review about NEW EM1 although his no one choice is a high end Leica M…..not necessarily X113.

  15. Why do you suppose Leica would have come out with the 60mm TL and the 35mm TL if there was not a new Leica T in the works? Thanks for your thoughts.

  16. “We get bored with our cameras ” Quote from previouss post .We should be concentrating on our photographs not our cameras I know it’s an uphill struggle to convince people – but I will keep trying – respect to all who disagree.

    • I couldn’t agree more with you. It’s hard to imagine how all those photographers from the pre-digital era managed to rouse themselves to make great pictures with gear that in some cases had been introduced 5, 10 or even15 years before!! How did they manage to remain interested when the camera companies weren’t dangling shiny new baubles in front of them every five minutes. Oh, wait. Could it be that they were more interested in the photographs than the gear?

      Forget Generation X or Gen. Y, we’re in the age of Gen. ADHD.

      • there is quote that says something along this line…: “the amateur photographer worries about the gear, the professional worries about making money, the master worries about the light…”

        … this says it all…

        • Well, there are millions who worry about the gear, if not, Photokina would not exists. Also, some of those “masters” also love their gear as they use quite a bit of it. 😉

      • From 1960 to the digital age, I looked at all the new films. I can remember my first use of many of them now. Today it is the new sensors and their capabilities. I remember also the first automatic focus and how it changed photography. Then the long wait for IS on a quality lens as the first IS seemed to be incompatible with sharpness. I think GAS existed long before the words did. I remember also in those days I would look at a slide and think if only I could………. These days those thoughts are gone. And, I think for many others as new camera sales do not seem to be growing. Now finally I can take the photo I want. Although, I am looking for better glass and know one day my camera will fail and need replaced.

    • IMHO, the excitement at buying a new brick of Kodachrome was greater than the excitement of a new camera. And because you had to choose your emulsion based on the job, you got to use a huge variety of film types.

  17. The announcement of the A99 ii is a significant one signalling Sony’s commitment to the A-mount. The only reason why I stopped considering the A77 ii as a D300 replacement is because I felt the line was dead int eh water. Now that I know it’s not I can once again focus on Sony as a well-rounded system for my photography needs:

    A77ii for pro gigs, A6k for travel and RX100 for everyday use


    Used D7100, used E-M5, and maybe an RX100…

    I’d rather have a setup that shares menu styles, batteries and workflow than run with three different systems cos that’s what’s out there.

    To be honest, I like Sony IQ and camera features.

  18. Well, the Olympus is nice and I ordered a Leica sofort, but the winner of Photokina this year goes to Panasonic!

    First the 3 new lenses under the Leica brand:

    12-60 F2.8-4 IS
    50-200 F2.8-4 IS
    8-18 F2.8-4 IS

    Then the GH5:

    6K Photo Mode at 18MP – this clearly aims at a new Sensor with more than 22MP (6K Photo grab at 6000X3000 pix) – Multiaspect Sensor back again??

    4K video at 10bit 4:2:2 and 4K at 60FPS and no more 4K crop

    The new Desiged Audio and Video Interface for the Hotshoe (YAGH)

    Thats just the first few points they have released. More to come in 2007…..

    -> thats already a bombshell, esp. for the videographers. Let’s see what else they will have in line? AF? IBIS? The Body is alreayd slightly improved.


    • The GH5 sadly has only contrast detect AF which means, like all Panasonics, it will be useless for video … unless your shooting stationary subjects.

    • Are you sure those lenses have IS? I’ve not been able to find that info anywhere, do you care to pass me a link?

    • Now we can ad three more points to the GH5 list:

      6K Photo Mode at 18MP – this clearly aims at a new Sensor with more than 22MP (6K Photo grab at 6000X3000 pix) – Multiaspect Sensor back again??
      4K video at 10bit 4:2:2 and 4K at 60FPS and no more 4K crop
      The new Desiged Audio and Video Interface for the Hotshoe (YAGH)

      Full size HDMI-Out
      REC709 preview when shooting V Log.

      Getting even more impressive!


  19. Steve will you be reviewing the Oly 12-100mm in the coming days/weeks? Sure seems like the perfect companion to any m43 body to bring along a few primes when traveling.

  20. Steve, do you think there is a particular reasons why the MF digital cameras came all up with relatively small sensor? It indeed is larger than FX, but the relative difference is less than APS-C to FX, so naively it is hard to expect some quantum leap in image quality & rendering, we just see a quantum leap in price. Still – I am surprised to see these cameras at all and am wondering what is the driving force sales wise.

    I am looking forward to your review of the new Olympus gear and I do hope you will also find some time for the 12-100/4 .

    • I will review all new Olympus gear for sure. As for the larger sensors..I am seeing a desire from the consumer and a shift from the manufacturers for more sales, more tech and to keep the digital train moving. As a user/consumer (the majority, but not all) we get bored with our cameras after a few years..we want something better, something exciting. We hit the peak for full frame (almost) and the next big thing is…bigger sensors. They offer more dynamic range, more details, and a smoother more impressive rendering. What used to come with that was slow speed, slow operation, large bulky bodies and lenses, etc. So they were limited. Today they are making them with smaller bodies which is MUCH more attractive to the masses than a sensor that is a little larger but in a much larger body. So it’s a step up in IQ from full frame and enough to get people excited, which is what drives sales. I see Sony coming out with a MF body as well, at least I hope they do. Soon. Would make sense as many Full Frame shooters are excited to give these larger sensor bodies a go. Whatever motivates us to shoot is a good thing. Keeps the craft alive and not all about smart phones 😉

      • Sony can borrow a page from Fuji’s play book. Sony can come out with a 1.5x FF MF, skippin the 33mmx44m. That way Sony’s MF to Fuji’s will be similar to A7 to Fuji’s APS-C. Too much wishful thinking?

  21. Very nice recap Steve. But you are right, without having your favorite cameras announced, the trip would have been painful. So you made the right call. For me, I’m taking a E-M1MKII when available along with a 300MMPro for wildlife and such and the A99MKII for everything else…both are a no- brainer for me. Can’t wait for your articles on both.

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